Kinetikeys Chorder Lets a User Walk and Type Simultaneously

Lior Gonnen designed a wearable, wireless, mechanical chording keyboard.

Cabe Atwell
11 days agoSensors / Communication

I saw this and immediately thought, “portable stenography machine!”

Most of us spend a lot of time in the day sitting next to a computer, typing away. Wouldn’t it be useful if we could type while walking at the same time? Software engineer Lior Gonnen is developing Kinetikeys Chorder — a wearable, wireless, mechanical, split, chording keyboard. Currently, the prototype is fully functional, but the goal is to make it capable of having a typing speed of 40-60 wpm.

Gonnen's prototype is printed in PLA (STL file available), but personally – ABS all the way. Currently, this keyboard uses two Adafruit nRF52840 Express Feathers; I couldn’t decern why. I suspect it has something to do with IO limitations. Feel free to chime in if you know.

The design consists of a hand rest, which is attached to the main body using two M2.5 screws. To make the hand rest as comfortable and firm as possible, it’s placed in hot water (160 degrees F) for a few seconds, until softening. After it’s pulled out, the hand rest is molded around the hand using four fingers in front of the thumb. Then, the hand strap is attached to the hand rest using two screws, washers and flush nuts.

Two LiPoly 3.7v 350mAh batteries are connected to the microcontroller(s), which is then connected to the main body using four screws. Next, two wires are soldered for each of the 10 Kailh Choc Low Profile key switches. Wicked cool switches. However, I would suggest switching to optical. Each switch is directly attached to the micro.

Five wires, one from each key, are connected to the microcontroller using pins A0-A4. The five ground wires are then soldered together. However, a 5-wire block connector could work too. One wire, from every joined ground wires, is then connected to the GND pin on the microcontroller. The cover might need to be re-designed in order to improve how it connects to the main body. Tape is an option, I suppose.

Speaking of, the hand strap is then wrapped in adhesive tape to ensure it has a smooth feeling and to keep it secure while it’s being held. Flashed and you are good to go.

Five keys per hand, let's say. A 40% keyboard is a pretty good minimalistic design to copy – so between 42 to 46 keys. That’s at least five times the keys. I love the idea, I think it’s a great WASD alternative. But using a function key + the keys you have access to four to five sets of different keys sounds like a pain.

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